If it Ain’t Broke – Stop Pretending
I fear we have lost the meaning of true brokenness.
When I first read the book “Unbroken”, the war story of Louie Zamperini, I nearly stopped reading for the sake of self-preservation. The description of Louie’s mistreatment and torture at the hands of his captors seemed endless. Page after page of indescribable pain left me empty and sickened. But I pushed through, partially because I decided if Louie was strong enough to survive I could find a way to finish the book.
In case you missed the obvious, I want to highlight the name of Laura Hillenbrand’s title: “Unbroken.”
Did you catch that?
A wildly popular book about the survival of a war hero wasn’t about his brokenness, but rather his un-brokenness.
Please know this: I believe people can be broken, and I hurt for them. In fact, I have spent my whole life binding up the wounds of people who have been broken by other people and life’s circumstances. If you don’t think you can be broken, think again. It can happen to any of us. And when it does we are thankful we have a Heavenly Father who puts the pieces of our lives back together again.
I think it is possible to be dishonest with ourselves and others when we say we are broken. Here is how:
When we are the ones trying to break others. That’s right. We all hate to lose, and when we try to hurt others and people stop us, we don’t like it. The true intentions of our hearts have been exposed and we play the victim. But it is erroneous to say we are “broken.”
When we don’t get our way. Children expect to get what they want if they create enough chaos in other people’s lives. But when they meet those who are as strong willed as they are they don’t know what to do. Neither do grown-ups. The only conclusion we can reach when we don’t get our way is that we have been treated unfairly. We claim our spirits are “broken.”
When we are held accountable for our behavior. It is hard to come clean. If we are submissive to others who are trying to help us we can actually reach a place of “brokenness” where God can transform our inner being. But if we play the role of a victim and hide behind a mask, how can we say we are “broken?” Embarrassed perhaps. But not “broken.”
When we make up stuff. I don’t know any other way to say it. If we say we are broken and we are telling people things that aren’t true, or leaving out important details in order to characterize ourselves as mistreated victims, then we are living out a fantasy. People who make up stuff may have found a way to live with themselves, but they are not “broken.”
I want to repeat my belief in brokenness. As I have said, I base my entire ministry on the conviction people are broken and they need someone to stand in the gap for them and help them find healing in the Lord. Perhaps this is the very reason I grow weary of those who use tearful expressions of brokenness when it is more likely they have left broken people in their path than that they themselves have experienced brokenness.
I should say there is a sense in which those who use the “broken” motif as a shield against taking responsibility for their own actions might indeed be broken. It is possible their inner brokenness is driving them to hurt others, demand their own way, behave any way they choose, and make up stuff.
It’s just that the consequences they suffer as a result of their choices are self-inflicted and are not the result of being victimized.
With the exception that our heart’s deception means we have been caught in Satan’s snare. So in that sense we are all victims.
Not innocent victims.
Which is why we need to truly be broken.